Thursday, March 17, 2016

A BLAST from my past...


Here's something I wrote awhile back for shits and giggles.

Oliver the Twisted
A short story by Lisa Purves

“I know you fucking heard me, luv, so quit pretending to be deaf!” he demanded, in the most ridiculous attempt at an English accent I have ever heard.

I looked up from where I sat on the bench to see the man looming over me, his face mere inches from mine, the very same man that followed me down to the beach this morning but disappeared before I could tell him to get lost.

Damn, he was good. I never heard him or even sensed his approach. He certainly didn’t intimidate me, though, so I held his stare. From this close, I could see the mischievous sparkle under the anger in his ice-blue eyes, although it was hard to tell if the frown lines on his forehead were real since they were partially covered by the stupid baker boy cap that threatened to slip over his face.

I blurted the first thing that came to mind. “I thought you people couldn’t swear.”

“Ah, luv, so little do you know.” He shook his head sadly. “There is no rule that says we can’t swear, it’s just that most of us choose not to swear because…” he blinked innocently. “…it’s a motherfucking waste of the Queen’s cocksucking English.”

I had to hold back a smirk. He did score some points for being funny, I’ll give him that. But I still wasn’t going to accept him.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Having tired of the game already, I responded with sarcasm. “I must have forgotten that I sent you an invitation… wait a minute,” I gave him a pointed look. “That’s because I never sent you one. So how about fucking off?” I turned back to my book and pretended to flip through the pages, hoping that if I ignored him long enough, he’d go away. Fat chance.

He plopped right down on the bench beside me, and stretched out as if he didn’t have a care in the world. “Ignore me all you want, luv. I have no intention of, as you so eloquently stated, fucking off,” he said. “You’ll find I’m much different than the others.”

He has no idea what I am capable of, I thought to myself, no idea at all. Ah well, his problem, not mine. He’ll learn. I grabbed my stuff and left.

As I headed away from the beach and up the pathway, I tried to pretend all was normal even though it wasn’t. How could it be? This ridiculous man not only followed me, but was skipping around me like a pansy as I walked, and he was putting me in serious danger of scuffing my precious Jimmy Choo gladiator flats.

“Perhaps I should introduce myself.” He said from beside me.

I ignored him and kept on walking.

“Oliver,” he doffed his hat with a courtly bow. “And I am pleased to make your acquaintance, luv.”

I couldn’t hold back my mirth. “Oliver?” I stopped to look him up and down, taking in his ratty tan pants that were tied at the waist with rope, his once-white shirt and his tan vest that was missing all of the buttons except one, and that one was in danger of dropping at any minute. I couldn’t bring myself to look at his shoes lest I throw up. “Let me guess. Oliver Twist. And I suppose you were born in 1837 to a life of poverty?” I shot a scathing look at his neckcloth. “I certainly hope so because I’d hate to think you chose that get-up yourself.”

“You don’t like it?” he asked, before smiling and dipping into a pirouette. “I think I look quite smashing, indeed. I spent a long while picking out just the right color scheme.”

His one pirouette turned into many as he opened his mouth and started to sing, actually more like bellow, the chorus to the song, OLIVER, from the musical, Oliver Twist.

“Cut it out!” I ordered him.

“Cut it out? Now why would I do that?” He twirled faster. “This is actually great fun, luv. Perhaps you should let loose for once and give it a try.”

I stuck my foot out to trip him, but he nimbly hopped out of the way and I only succeeded in stumbling over my own feet. Alarmed, I bent over to assess the damage to my shoes, but thankfully there was none. I stood up and glared at him.

His laughter, as he started another set of twirls, was the last straw. I let him have it. “I said, cut it out, you fucking ridiculous imbecile! You are embarrassing me!”

“Embarrassing you? I don’t think so.” He gestured to the family that sat on a blanket a small distance away who, instead of enjoying their picnic, were now staring at me like I was the circus freak. “You’re doing a pretty good job of embarrassing yourself.”

I groaned and closed my eyes for a moment before pasting a serene smile on my face and asking nicely. “Oliver, will you please stop?”

And just like that, he did.

“All you had to do was ask, luv,” he said with a grin.

Lucky for him I tapped down my need to resort to violence a long time ago, otherwise I would have slapped that smug grin right off of his face. Instead, I decided to kill him with kindness.

“Oliver,” I said in my most sincere tone, “I don’t get a lot of time to myself and I was looking forward to some peace and quiet. Would you please go away?”

“Since you posed your request so politely, let me think about it.” He rubbed his chin. “Okay, I’ve thought about it… no.”

I turned away in disgust. “You’re an asshole, fuck you.”

But as I tried to walk away, he jumped directly in front of me, effectively blocking my path.

“No, luv, you’re the asshole. Fuck you.”

I laughed. I couldn’t help myself. This guy was a trip. He was so unlike any of the others that I had to shake my head and wonder how he managed to slip past the powers that be and land this assignment.

He grinned at my laughter. “Does this mean I’m growing on you, luv?”

I lost my smile, real quick. “Not a chance.”

Holding my head up high, I stalked away. This time, Oliver didn’t follow.

***

Now that my plans for a quiet day were ruined, I just wanted to go home, so I headed in the direction of the parking lot. Seeing a cute elderly couple walking my way, I quickly changed my frown to a smile of greeting, which they returned. As soon as the couple passed by me, Oliver quietly leapt out of the bush, and with the skill of an expert, reached into the old man’s back pocket and stole his wallet. The old man never felt a thing.

“Give me that!” I shrieked, snatching the wallet out of Oliver’s hand. At my voice, the elderly couple turned back, saw that I held the male’s wallet, and alarmed, slowly backed away.

“It’s okay, lady,” The old man sputtered. “Take it, it’s yours, just don’t hurt us.”

I stepped towards them, “No, it’s not what you think…”

Panicked, the man shoved his wife behind him, grabbed her purse and thrust it towards me. “Here, take this, too. Just please don’t hurt us.”

“Oliver, you fuckstick!” I turned to face Oliver, who was responsible for this mess, and what do you know? He’s gone. Slunk back into the bushes like a thief. I turned back to the couple, an explanation on my tongue, but the look on their faces stopped me. They were scared shitless. Of me.

“Oh, for God’s sake,” I said, disgusted. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

I carefully placed the man’s wallet on the ground in front of him and made my escape in the opposite direction, away from the parking lot. Wouldn’t want the old couple to get my license plates and call the police. After walking for a few minutes, I found myself at the foot of the wharf, so I decided to stake a stroll. Reaching the end, I leaned against the railing, closed my eyes and breathed in the salty tang of the sea air. “Mother nature at her finest, luv. Refreshing, isn’t it?”

I opened my eyes to see Oliver standing there beside me. Is the guy a stealth warrior or what? How does he manage to sneak up on me like that? I glared at him. “First of all, Oliver, I was under the impression that you were against a life of crime. And second of all, please tell me…” I ended on a yell, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Consider that pay back for Miss Odelia.” He responded casually.

“Ah, Miss Odelia,” I allowed a fond smile to flit across my face. “So many years ago, yet I remember her well.” I sent him a smug look. “She sure didn’t last long.”

“I guess not, considering what you did to the poor dear”

“She deserved everything she got.”

He snorted in disbelief.

“She did.” I screwed up my face to mimic Miss Odelia in my best prim tone.

“Your behavior is most improper, young lady. Why, I am appalled at your behavior, young lady.” I laughed. “And my personal favorite, your behavior does not befit that of a genteel young lady, I am simply shocked.” I stared at him. “How would you like to listen to that twenty-four hours a day when you’re sixteen?”

He crossed his arms and gave me a stern look. “First of all, I’m sure she was just trying to tame your wild ways before you got yourself into trouble…” He raised his eyebrows. “For all the good it did.” Then he turned sarcastic. “And second of all, may I remind you, luv, that you pushed her off of a bridge?”

I rolled my eyes. “And?”

“You,” he pointed at me. “Pushed her,” he made a pushing motion. “Off of a bridge.” Then he leaned in close and lowered his voice so I had to strain to hear him. “Off of a fucking bridge when you knew damn well that she was afraid of heights. Why, surely even Bill Sikes would disapprove of using a person’s weakness against them like that.”

Is this guy for real? What a hypocrite. These people have tried to use every one of my weaknesses against me at some point or another in an attempt to bend me to their will. I crossed my arms and glared even harder, if that’s possible. “I hate to be the one to have to inform you of this, Oliver,” I said, my words dripping with condescension. “But she was already dead!”

“Well,” he conceded. “Technically, yes, she was. But that’s beside the point.”

Not only was this guy unreal, he also didn’t know when to quit. Leaping back from the railing, I kicked him in the ass. Hard. Except he moved out the way in time and all I kicked was air before landing on my own ass with a thud.

He roared with laughter and then bent over my prone body, “Please, luv, I want some more.”

“Aargh!” I screamed indignantly, as I struggled to get up.

He smirked. “Careful, you don’t want to scratch your shoes.”

“That’s it!” I hollered. “I’ve fucking had it with you. From now on, you won’t exist to me.”

Oliver leaned against the railing and inspected the dirt under his nails. “Ah, yes, just like my predecessor, Bartholomew. You know…” He looked directly at me. “You surprised everyone with that little ability of yours.”

“I’m sure.”

“No, really.” He coughed lightly and cleared his throat. “We would be most interested in knowing how you managed it.

I snorted. “You tell me. I thought you fucking people knew everything.”

Oliver nodded his head. “So did we.” Then he deepened his look, trying to see inside me, but I blocked him. “Which is why we were so surprised that you slipped that one past us.” He smiled encouragingly. “So how about behaving like a good sport and explaining it?”

Explaining it? Right. How am I supposed to explain something that I don’t know myself? I shot him an innocent look. “How about I behave like a good sport and show you, instead?”

“You could try, but it won’t work with me.” Then he laughed in my face. “See, I came here prepared, luv. You won’t –

I harnessed all my emotions, concentrated my mind and…poof, just like that, Oliver was no more. Vanished into thin air.

I won’t what? I thought to myself as I stalked back up the wharf. Make you cease to exist? Ha.

***

Pulling into my driveway never felt so good. I was going to relax with my book, this time without any interruptions. Unlocking the front door, I entered and just stood in the hall for a moment, enjoying the silence. Then I walked into my living room and stopped dead. There was Oliver, in all his glory, sitting on my favorite chair.

“Hello, luv.” He blinked innocently. “Hate to say I told you so...”

“Quit fucking calling me luv.”

“Quit fucking swearing.”

“No.”

“Then,” he shrugged. “No.”

“Arrrrgh!” I threw up my hands and stalked into the kitchen. I went through the motions of making tea on autopilot, while my mind raced to come up with a way to get rid of him. That little trick was my ace-in-the-hole, and I didn’t have a back-up plan.

I sat at my kitchen table and slowly sipped my tea while I struggled to think of something, anything that I could do. Pouring myself a second cup, I went back into the living room and sat down on the couch, opposite Oliver, who still occupied my chair.

“There is nothing I can do, is there?” I asked him quietly.

“I’m afraid not.” He responded, just as quietly.

I looked at him beseechingly. “Well, do I have to see you? Can’t you at least make yourself invisible or something?”

Oliver frowned. “If it bothers you that much, I’ll change the outfit.”

“It’s not the outfit, it’s you.”

“Me? Ouch.”

Even though he spoke casually, I knew that I’d actually wounded him. I sighed. “It’s not you personally. It’s all of you. You spirits seem so real to me that I keep forgetting you aren’t, and then I look like an idiot in front of real people, for talking to myself.”

“I am not a spirit,” he spat out the word like it was an insult. “I am a spirit guide and I know you’ve been taught the difference.”

“You know what I mean.” I snapped.

Now it was his turn to sigh. “Look, luv, we’re well aware that this isn’t easy for you. Those born with your level of compassion can’t turn it off. Until you learn how to build a filter around yourself, we’re here to stop you from wasting your time.”

I was honestly perplexed. “How can you call helping people a waste of my time?”

“It isn’t. Unless, of course, the person you want to help doesn’t deserve it, in which case, it is.”

I backtracked through my mind, trying to remember all of the times one of these spirits… spirit guides, rather, wouldn’t let me use my gift. “How about that sweet young girl at the mall?” I asked him.

“That sweet young girl, as you call her, took great pleasure in torturing animals.”

“Come on,” I crossed my arms, ready for battle. “What was she? Thirteen? So you’re saying that there was no hope for her?” I gained momentum with my argument and I spewed out my next words. “How about that lonely old man at the train station? What did he do? Accidentally mow his neighbors’ flowers when he was cutting their lawn?”

“Beat his wife, stole from his boss, and fathered his own grandchild.” Oliver said quietly.

“Oh…” The wind leaving my sails. “Um… oh.”

“Yes, oh is right, luv.”

We sat for a few moments in companionable silence, while I struggled to comprehend the enormity of it all.

“I have to ask,” I looked up at him. “Why Oliver Twist?”

“I don’t ever recall stating that my last name was Twist.” He responded with a grin. “You know what they say about assume…”

“Answer the fucking question, asshole.”

“Ah, luv, we really do need to work on that language of yours. It actually is a waste of the Queen’s English, you know.”

I rolled my eyes and opened my mouth, ready to spew the nastiest swear words I could possibly come up with, but he silenced me with a wave of his hand.

“Charles Dickens. You always enjoyed his stories, so I sifted through his characters and chose one I thought you could relate to.”

“So you chose Oliver Twist?”

He winked. “One day, you’ll figure it out.”

“Forget it.” I shook my head, insulted. I am the queen of fashion yet he compares me to raggedy-assed Oliver Twist? I glared at him, “I don’t want to know.”

His only response was to raise his eyebrows in disbelief.

I laughed and rescinded. “Okay, I don’t want to know today.”

We shared a smile and lapsed back into silence for a few minutes until I broke it. “Oliver?” I said quietly and he looked up. “Please apologize to the others for my past behavior.”

Oliver looked into my eyes, saw that I meant it, and bowed his head. “Thank you. I accept your apology.”

I didn’t need to ask the question, he read it on my face.

“Yes, that’s right.” He nodded with a grin. “All of them.” His eyes twinkled. “I just kept trying until I found the right personality. It seems there is only one in this infinite universe that you could get along with for life.”

I frowned and lowered my head, pondering his words. I got the feeling that he’d just insulted me… wait a minute, he did!

“Hey!” I looked up, prepared to tell him off, but there was only an empty chair. Oliver was gone. The ignorant fucker.

Then a tinny-sounding voice, with that ridiculous English accent, spoke directly into my right ear. “That’s right, luv. I’m your own personality mirrored back at you.”

I turned, thinking he was behind me, but he wasn’t… well, he was, I just couldn’t see him anymore. He had made himself invisible. But I did hear his laughter, loud and clear, echoing through my head.

“I am Oliver the Twisted,” said his voice in my ear. I felt, rather than saw, his courtly bow. “…and I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, you rude, vain, stubborn, foul-mouthed cunt.”

I stood there for a moment, stunned, before collapsing into the heartiest and loudest laughter of my life.